The movie is told in 3 parts and focusses on life of Chiron, a young boy. Drug dealer Juan watches Chiron being chased after by school boys shouting faggot behind him. He rescues a boy but in a manner that doesn’t shelve his self-respect and bring him home to nourish and be good. Chiron lives with his drug-taking and single mother, who really doesn’t care much for him. Chiron gets bullied in school and just occasionally his latin friend Kevin comes to him as a true friend. Juan takes him in his wings just to gives a loving nourishing environment. Stage two in teenage years. The bullying hasn’t stopped and life hasnt much improved for Chiron. He is still the same shy boy and still only has Kevin as a friend. One night along the beach, the two come closer but just the next day Kevin ends up beating Chiron because of provocation by another classmate. Chiron brings out all his anger and hits that classmate badly and gets jailed for it. We move to stage 3, where Chiron is a different man. He deals with drugs on street and is now all buffed up. But what hasn’t changed much is his shy demeanor. His mother is now is rehab and apologizes for how she dealt with him. A chance call by his friend Kevin brings him back to the town. The 2 friend relive old days; each one not showing what really they want form each other. There is the awkwardness between them , before Chiron finally gives in and tells exactly what brought him there. The film ends at a very tender moment.
Story wise although film may feel simple but its the treatment that sets it apart. No where you get to see over the top drama. The way Juan and his wife bring Chiron in their family while respecting the fact that he still has a mother raising him is handled really well. The scene where young Chiron asks Juan, what a ‘faggot’ means and if he is one; its brilliantly handled. Juan takes the word apart, and doesn’t take Chiron apart with it. In the teenage years, Chiron, now skinny lad is still dragging himself with no friends. So that one night when Kevin and he end up kissing at the same beach where Juan taught him to swim, it breaks your heart to see that Chiron asks for forgiveness after the kiss. Thankfully Kevin (very very cute) simply says “What have you got to be sorry for?”. And the boys get a little more closer. And finally the young grown up Chiron. Yes we wonder what happened in the jail that made him change so much as a person but you see the light in his eyes and confusion on getting that call from Kevin (again really handsome). The scenes that follow between grown up Chiron and Kevin are some of the best scenes of the movie. You see the hapiness, confusion, ecstasy, eagerness; all in both of them but they both just don’t know how to express the feelings and the tension is just brilliant. Acting wise, everyone is simply brilliant. There is an interesting continuity between the three boys and you feel that yes its the same boy that has grown up. The three of them have brilliantly managed to keep the skin of character inside them. The film is slow yes, but thats what makes it even more of a classic. I feel like I will have to watch this film again in a few months just to understand all the intricacies, the nuances and silences of the characters. Scene where Chiron talks about crying and fearing of turning into an ocean just before the kiss is also so sad. I am now remembering more and more scenes like that. The best impact come from that final moment when the two best friends just hold each other because they know what they want.
Its about human emotions and connections and not race, skin or color. Its about men and fact that its ok for men to cry and feel vulnerable. A toast to all those who have struggled to identify and accept love and finally achieve it; this movie is brilliant and an absolute must-see. (9/10)